I set off at seven this morning for the University of the East, where a new academic day is dawning with its consequent troubled waters to negotiate. I got to work just after 7.30 after circling a deserted North Circular, and the receptionist at Security was so bleary he forgot how to articulate his unpleasantness and just gave off an unpleasant vibe instead, so slowly that the woman sitting next to him was able to interject and be really nice and helpful!
So now it's 8.30, an hour and a half to go before teaching starts, and enough time to buckle on my armour, build a couple of bridges and take the day from myself before anyone snatches it and runs off with it.
Three hours teaching... only three hours, I tell myself; three days pre-teaching stress, three months organisation to try to prevent anything going wrong.
With incompatible machinery, bewildered students and a certain ratio of 'support' staff whose job seems to be not losing their job rather than helping to run a University, the word 'challenging' is re-defined every year. But it's not just here- these things happen in every organisation, I know. I'm wearing a bright red cowboy shirt in defiance of anyone who tries to trowel misery on to my day, and to make a statement of positivity to my students.